In response to our latest "How can we help you?" post, a reader by the name of 'Eric' writes:
Another issue that may be worth discussing is how much teaching should an applicant have to be competitive at R1s, SLACs or large state schools provided that one has at least one decent publication. By decent publication I mean a third tier journal or better.
Some people think that (1) one or two classes will suffice to make one competitive but I've noticed some people think that (2) more than two classes can make help make one more competitive at either SLACs or large state schools.
There seems to be some consensus that to be competitive across all kinds of schools, one should have some teaching and at least one publication. But, beyond this, it seems that there is less consensus.
Good question! I'm not sure how much teaching experience matters for R1s, as they are plausibly interested most in one's promise as a researcher. When it comes to 'selective'/elite liberal arts colleges, the optimal amount of teaching seems less clear to me. Given that such colleges are highly ranked, they too are presumably looking for distinguished researchers--but, as liberal arts schools they also presumably prioritize teaching as well. So, can anyone from a selective liberal arts school chime in to provide Eric and others like him some guidance here? And what about large state schools that are not R1s?
For my part, I have worked at a small-to-mid-sized liberal arts college for 7 years now, and my experience here is that for schools like mine, provided one is publishing effectively and one's teaching reviews are strong, the more breadth of teaching experience one has the better. The reasons for this are simple. At many schools like mine, philosophy departments are small--but teaching is very much valued, and there may be very specific courses the search committee doing the hire needs the new TT hire to be able to teach. So, for instance, one school doing a hire may need/desire their hire to teach epistemology; a second school might need/desire their hire to teach ancient philosophy; a third may need/desire the hire to teach modern philosophy; a fourth biomedical ethics; and so on. The more of these courses a candidate has experience teaching, the larger the proportion of jobs at these schools they are likely to be competitive for--which is just another way of saying that, on the "teaching jobs" market, the more courses one has experience teaching, the more competitive one is likely to be (all things being equal of course). And my sense is that the same is probably true for community colleges as well.
Anyway, these are some of my quick thoughts. What do you all think?